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Patti Ann 77, Us 34, Gregg 21, Washington 12, Syria 12, Boehner 9, Assad 9, U.s. 8, Alabama 6, Texas 6, California 6, Afghanistan 6, America 6, John Boehner 6, Russia 5, Hawaii 5, North Carolina 5, South Carolina 5, Cooper 4, Jason 4,
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  FOX News    Americas Newsroom    News/Business. Bill Hemmer, Martha  
   MacCallum. News coverage and discussion. New.  

    December 26, 2012
    6:00 - 8:00am PST  

with a neighbor's computer, how can i now hook up to my new computer without losing the 8,000 songs already on it? first of all, when you attach it, just don't do a sync. but also if they own the songs with their itunes i.d., then you're out of luck. there are some other third party programs out there that will let you transfer them over for free. you just need to do a little google search for the program you want to use. i've done it and it works. >> gretchen: all right. clayton, thank you so much for all the answers to those questions and rick for our weather forecast. hopefully you have a safe flight today. and we will be following the fiscal cliff talks tomorrow. and clayton, you'll be hear, right? >> clayton: i will. so send us any of your questions as well and your thoughts. our -- go to our web site for the after the show show. >> gretchen: happy new year, everybody. gregg: fox news alert.
powerful winter storm bringing deadly weather. >> oh, wow. that is a tornado. jesus, look at that tornado. it is like two tornados. it is two funnels on the frowned. oh, lord. look at there. wow! look at that. gregg: the storm system that produced those tornados in parts of the south not done yet. now posing a potentially major roadblock for countless holiday travelers. hello, i'm gregg jarrett in for bill hemmer. >> i'm patti ann browne in for martha maccallum patti ann: local crews said there is only one thing that could have accused the damage. >> one thing they saw damage indicative of tornado damage.
we had homes 90% destroyed. that doesn't happen with straight line winds. >> you have a lot of damage. people hurt and i went out with the skid steer. we rounded up equipment. we started opening the road for emergency vehicles and get ambulances in. it's a mess. gregg: we are live from "america's newsroom" to elizabeth prann. elizabeth? >> reporter: hi, gregg. yeah, very unusual time of year for such destructive storms. in fact damaging tornados across the southeast. strong winds as far as texas. folks were celebrating their christmas evening as storms left00 of thousands of without power at any given time. the system moved through parts of alabama, georgia, mississippi and parts of florida. the biggest city to be hit by numerous rare winter twisters as well as powerful straight line winds. forecasters say there could
have been as many as 19 tornados that ripped through the area. trees and power lines are on the ground, leaving debris in the roadway. folks in texas are feeling from where parts of the system originated. >> i tell you what. i never seen one in real life. just to hear one from that far away, that is a mile from where we are and you could still hear it. it was pretty amazing. >> as far as i know there is a small town, maybe 10 miles from here, lovelady. blew the roof off of a bank into another house. that was a couple of structures. as far as i know a guy, he had a house a mile from here and it totally took it down. as you see by the size of the slab used to be a huge feed store and metal. it wasn't a weak building at all. it was a well-built building. man, it just, you see what it did to it. it is amazing. >> reporter: gregg, we talked about a lot of debris
on the roadway. people are driving home from the christmas holiday. it will be a long, treacherous day across the nation's midsection. gregg: how far did the storm extend? >> reporter: it was a huge system across the southeast. they felt the pain in texas and mississippi and flash flood wornings and strong winds. governor phil bryant declared a state of emergency in the state saying at least eight counties reported damages and some injuries. here is what one witness said. listen. >> it was a lot of wind. cows were a little jumpy. lightning hit the building we won't have no cows. >> reporter: today being the day after christmas there are a lot of people hitting the airports across the country. here in atlanta hartsfield-jackson airport we're noting a number of delays. at least 600 flights are delayed this morning. travelers need to have a lot of patience as though make their way home. gregg: they do indeed. elizabeth, thanks. those tornados she just
mentioned only part of what is happening there. major snow in parts of oklahoma where white-knuckled drivers were describing already dangerous conditions on the road from a storm that is not over yet. >> just really bad. i don't advise going south. it was slick. i don't care to go back through it. i seen about, oh, right at a dozen wrecks. one was overturned. they had an ambulance there. several people off in the ditch. >> coming out of the lake in some of the higher elevations there was a lot of ice and snow. it was pretty treacherous for a while. gregg: maria molina is live in the fox extreme weather center. hi, maria. >> hi, gregg. that's right. this storm system is not over yet unfortunately, producing those tornadoes on christmas day. we're looking at more tornado doughs chaos part of the carolines. strong risk by the predict sun center unusual for this year.
eastern portions of the carolinas where we could see more tornadoes today. worst conditions are south of the great lakes producing very heavy snow fall. it is not just snow we're talking about here producing wind issues. but areas not dealing with snow will also have to deal with the wind. we could see easily wind gusts 40, 50, to 60 miles per hour. as the storm system continues to push through areas of the northeast. the snowfall is across areas of east st. louis, parts of southern illinois, indiana and ohio. we have a number of blizzard warnings in effect. not just because of the snowfall but because of the wind. whiteout conditions expected. likely today we'll see flight cancellations across places in the great lakes into the northeast. severe weather today. not just tornados but damaging wind gusts. large hail in mid-atlantic eastern parts of virginia, parts of north carolina, and raleigh you're included and charleston as well. we could see outer band of
tornados throughout the day. blizzard warnings span 700 miles stretching across northeastern parts of arkansas, northeast missouri through parts of ohio. many of these warnings do go into effect not just later this evening but some of these across ohio are into effect till tomorrow morning a long prolonged period of time blizzard conditions south of the great lakes. we had a little issue with our graphics. a lot of bad weather, gregg, occurring. gregg: there is bad weather. we'll say that much. maria molina thanks very much. >> thank you. patti ann: officials in oklahoma city reopening part of a major highway following a 21-car pileup. police say it happened when a tractor-trailer jackknifed on a bridge over the oklahoma river. freezing rain from a passing snowstorm may be to blame. highway crews are warning drivers to be extra cautious of black ice. that is when the road looks wet but it is actually coated with ice. as authorities in oklahoma recover from that
massive pileup we're getting word of another highway crash, this one in houston, texas, where an 18-wheeler crashed and exploded on a freeway near the airport. the driver was reportedly killed and multiple emergency teams including firemen and hazmat crews are on the scene. gregg: president obama is apparently cutting his hawaiian vacation short heading back to washington tonight to restart the negotiations on the so-called fiscal cliff. if mr. obama and congress can not agree on a stopgap measure, automatic hikes and spending cuts will hit americans jan 1. peter doocy live in washington with more on this peter, what is the latest? >> reporter: gregg, the president said on friday he would see it this week and maybe if lawmakers went back to home districts to drink eggnog and eat cookies and sing christmas carols maybe they would be more in touch with the hardship so many americans are going to face if the fiscal cliff is not
avoided. >> there is a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problems. democrats and republicans, outside of this town and how folks are operating here and we've just got to get that aligned. >> reporter: the president's wife and daughters are going to stay in hawaii to continue vacationing. we're told the president may rejoin them or he may not. it all depends on how negotiations progress in the next few days. gregg: well, you know what, peter? there's not lost love between boehner and president obama. are they going to meet? >> reporter: they might, gregg. the speaker is expected to return to washington soon but we still don't know of a specific time set aside on his calendar to meet with the president. actually the last we heard from the speaker he said that since voters in november picked republicans to control the house, he is going to stay true to his party's principles in december in the course of making any kind of a compromise.
>> the american people reelected president obama on election day. they also reelected a republican majority here in the house. in doing so they gave us all a mandate. it was not a mandate to raise taxes on families and small businesses. it was a mandate to work together to begin solving the massive debt that threatens our country's future. >> reporter: the house and the senate will both be back in session tomorrow and the president has said he expects them to quickly vote to pass legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, if, he and the speaker are able to make a deal before it's too late. gregg: we'll be holding our breath. peter doocy, thanks. >> reporter: yeah. patti ann: the commander-in-chief also spent part of his holiday thanking the troops on a visit to a hawaiian military base. the president and first lady paying tribute to those here and abroad who risk their lives keeping us safe. he took time to honor their families as well. >> so many of you make sacrifices day in, day out on behalf of our freedom, on
behalf of our security, and not only do those in uniform make sacrifices but i think everybody here understands the sacrifices that families make each and every day as well. and michelle --. patti ann: the president also made a series of holiday phone calls monday night thanking members of the armed forces around the globe. shoppers are going to be making tough decisions today. many preparing to return unwanted holiday gifts. retailers suggest patience if you plan to hit the stores today. they are expecting a very busy day of returns and exchanges. of course longer lines than usual but they say the wait could be worth it. many stores slashing prices as much as 75%, really. gregg: 75%? are you going to get out there? patti ann: i will go online and get some stuff. gregg: online. you will not hoof it? patti ann: i don't really like the crowds. gregg: i received some teal blue jeans. patti ann: don't say from who. gregg: yeah.
going back. sorry. okay. those are just a few of the stories we're following this morning. this is "america's newsroom." when we come back we'll debate whether a deal to avert the fiscal cliff is really possible? come on. seriously? as the president cuts his vacation short. patti ann: also some disturbing new details on a gunman's deadly ambush in upstate new york, setting a fire and then shooting the first-responders. gregg: and talk about a holiday miracle. look at this. after a man makes it is mission to find a stranger's wedding ring lost on a snow-covered highway. how could you do that? >> i like to be able to get this back to him. and he can, return, pay it forward to someone else later in life. i love the holidays.
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patti ann: an investigation is now underway after a devastating plane crash in kazakhstan. the russian-built military jet went down yesterday near
the border with uzbekistan, killing all 27 people on board. nighttime video from the scene shows charred and mangled wreckage scattered around a cordoned off area during a raging blizzard. the commander of the country's border guards was on the plane. gregg: president obama is deciding to cut his vacation short. he is heading back from hawaii to washington tonight to work on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. with only days left before the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts kick in, is a compromise even possible? stephen hayes joins us. senior writer, "the weekly standard." is it possible? >> hey, gregg. yeah, look, i think it's possible. i thought all along for more than a month we were likely to see some last minute, slap dash kind of unsatisfying deal thrown to won't actually do anything to solve the long-term problems but get
politicians out of the bind. gregg: like what? >> like something that extends the bush tax rates for those making $250,000 in the last, maybe amt patch, but won't deal with entitlement spending won't deal with long term issues we have to deal with as a country if we're actually serious about changing the trajectory of our debt. gregg: i'll sure you saw john barosso who said the president is eager to go over the cliff. he wants to go over the cliff. what do you think? >> well i think there are political incentives for the president to do just that. if you think about the long-term political liabilities of the democratic party, they have been basically on taxes and national security. and if the president goes over the cliff with the country, and we know that republicans are likely to be blamed for, you know, for their intransigence if that happens, the president can then turn around and sort of obama as a hero scenario where he can say, i am now the lead tax cutter. i am going to take the leadership role in cutting taxes for everybody making
$250,000 and less, and not only that, i will consult with my top uniform military leaders and i'm going to restore some of the defense cuts they say go just too far. in that quick time period, maybe a week or two, the president can position himself as, sort of the restorer of tax cuts for the middle class and of defense spending. gregg: right. >> thereby, i think, helping to ameliorate some of the problems that democrats faced over past three decades politically. gregg: what of john boehner though? steve latourette, who said, the same 50 or 60 chuckle heads who always screw things up, speaking of the tea party group. >> yeah. gregg: he said it is not really the speaker's fault. is it the speaker's fault? >> well, look, i think boehner was, he is in a bad spot. there are no good outcomes here for republicans. there have been no good policy outcomes for republicans. i watched the steven
latourette comment, one of the things that struck me, these are the guys, 50 or 60 chuckle heads came here and screwed things up. the presumption congress was working just fine before they arrived. i would argue that it is nice we have people in congress who are actually serious about looking at the long term consequences of our overspending over these past couple of decades. that is where the real problem is. he can say they're stubborn and not willing to compromise and all things he said repeatedly as he made those criticisms but the reality is they're actually trying to solve the long-term problem. he may not like the way they're doing it but at least somebody is paying attention to those things. gregg: steve, when the president asks for more spending, additional spending, stimulus spending, $50 billion more, is it any wonder people sort of say, he is not really serious about cutting the defsht and deficit? >> this is, look, this is the greatest irony of this
entire discussion. and it is getting lost too much i think in the sometimes in the weeds of the back and forth negotiations. remember, the reason that we're doing this is because this grew out of the 2010 elections and debates over raising debt ceiling that following summer, 2011. the entire purpose was to reduce the size and scope of government in a way responsible to the voters of that midterm election. instead what we're almost certain to see is an expansion of government in the name of reintroducing it. we're likely to see much bigger government long term. we're not likely to deal with entitlement reforms as we need to do. as you suggest the president is pushing some short-term spending increases often in washington turn into long-term spending increases. gregg: but, steve, bill kristol, conservative, you know what, time to throw in the towel. you do not want to get blamed for raising taxes on 98% of americans. >> right. gregg: right? >> look, bill kristol is my
boss and editor at "the weekly standard" and one of most handsome and well-regarded editors in the country as everybody knows. look, i think he was making what was, in effect a practical case. there are people who are making this case behind the scenes. you have seen, he said, get it over with. move beyond this. there are others saying absolutely not. republicans can't cave on the principle of raising tacks. i think interesting thing in what happened last week that you have seen a turn, and it is first time i've seen a sliver of potential good news for the republicans and that is this. the president is now going to have to work with senate democrats and craft a proposal, some kind of short-term deal that deals mostly with the tax side of things that won't require too much republican buy-in. so if republicans want contrast, i think is a good thing for republicans to want, i don't think this is likely to be a good deal, they're likely to get it with just a couple dozen house republicans voting along with vast majority of
democrats and president to pass something short term that really doesn't do too much. gregg: steve hayes calling bill kristol handsome. quintessential. butt-kisser. i said that, yeah. thanks very much. >> anytime. see you, gregg. patti ann: okay, then. we have holiday deadly weather across the south to tell you about. we'll talk to one man that hustled his family to a storm shelter to weather the storm on christmas day. we'll tell you how that turned out. gregg: a terror attack targeting a u.s. military base in afghanistan. we'll have the latest. a live report. this is how mommy learned... ...and now... you!
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gregg: an extreme weather alert. a massive winter storm moving north, setting up, well, a huge holiday travel nightmare. 600 flights canceled yesterday. some 5,000 delayed and nearly another 600 impacted today. things are not over. that storm creating problems at affected airports and those expected to get worse later on. travelers advised to check their carriers. patti ann: that is for sure. they may want to also pay attention after seeing the incredible damage that was
left behind when this same storm tore through parts of alabama. it forced some people like our next guest to get up from their holiday dinners at the sound of tornado sirens, only to find the location where they were seeking shelter was the place where the tornado actually hit. joining us by phone, rick cally of mobile, alabama. thanks for joining us, rick. >> thank you. patti ann: i see you have family there as well. you heard the sirens. you had family dinner. but you want to keep the family safe. you went to local high school, turned out not to be the best call? >> i work at the high school. i live across the stream. usually if there's a storm, one. coaches will go there and stay and they will put someone there and this happened to be the place that it hit. patti ann: you're all there huddled in the high school in this one building and what did you see and feel? >> well, the building i'm in has no windows. and it is solid concrete, we
were pretty safe but the pressure dropped and you hear popping and hear a bunch things and you don't know what it is really until you go outside. patti ann: so you went outside and saw what? >> pretty much everything, all of the portable classrooms and sheet metal buildings, storage buildings, things of that nature were pretty much destroyed. patti ann: obviously there was damage to your area. as it turns out later we found out power outages to the area and damage. what about your own home? >> we live about 150, 200 yards away from significant damage but we were very fortunate that, we don't have anything really to speak of. patti ann: yeah. how is the power situation now in your area of mobile? >> well, it's crazy. some areas of the school has power. our house has power.
but obviously where there is downed lines still some of the streets where some people were hit pretty hard i'm guessing. i've been in a couple of houses and they do not have power. patti ann: so those folks living with friends and relatives or at shelters? >> right. midtown is a pretty good community and everyone is kind of taking care of each other. patti ann: what was it like for you? you're having dinner. this happens. you come out of the school. you see that everything has changed in a matter of seconds. how did that change the rest of your holiday celebration? did it give you a different perspective? >> well, it does. i have two little ones. i have a 3-year-old and 7-month-old. i shifted to, get them somewhere safe. we have a family down the street that took us in. and we stayed there throughout the rest of the night. patti ann: and did the children grassp what was
going on? >> the 3-year-old kind of gets it but the 7-month-old, she didn't know. patti ann: i would guess not. well, very fortunate that you and your family survived. unfortunately mobile did suffer a lot of damage and they're industrial struggling with the power outages. a long way back. rick is live on the phone from mobile, alabama. thank you. >> thank you. gregg: all right. just days left for lawmakers to come up with a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. who is feeling more pressure to get things done, the president, the democrats, congressional republicans?. patti ann: and funeral services are now set for two firefighters killed in an ambush. we're now learning more about why a man intentionally set a fire in order to trap the first-responders. >> the note was important for us to find because at least it provided us with the information leading toward the intent of the shooter essentially to burn
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gregg: all right, new developments on the christmas eve ambush that left two firefighters dead up in state new york. police say they have human remains in the burned out home of the gunman. david lee miller is live in our newsroom. david, so what do we know
about this? >> reporter: gregg, it now seems almost certain, william spengler, the gunman is the responsible for the death of his 67-year-old sister with whom he had a strained relationship. shortly after the rampage authorities said the sister could not be located. now this much is certain. authorities yesterday made a gruesome discovery. >> we did locate apparent human remains in the ruins of the house at 191 lake road. the medical examiner has removed those remains. that again, at 191 lake road is where the shooter resided with his sister. the medical examiner will be working on the identification and, you know, i'm assuming that is going to take quite a period of time. >> reporter: the funerals of the two volunteer firefighters who were killed in the ambush have been set for next sunday and monday. adding to the trauma, the son of one of the victims worked as a 911 dispatcher and according to the "new york post" he listened to the radio chatter as his dad was shot to death.
gregg? gregg: david, the alleged killer left behind a note. what do we know about that? >> reporter: well the authorities will not reveal its entire contents, even where it was found. they do say the note was typed. it was two or three pages in length and it contained what they described as ramblings. the local police chief read one chilling passage allowed. listen. >> quote, i still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood i can burn down and do what i like doing best, killing people. end quote. >> reporter: while the note describes spengler evil plans to kill it does not talk about a motive. in the words of the police chief, motive is a burning question. we might never know what was going through his mind. gregg? gregg: david, thanks. patti ann: oh, well, before christmas speaker john boehner said the ball is in the president and the senate's court to avoid the fiscal cliff. now there are only days left
before americans could be hit with massive tax hikes and spending cuts. so who is under more political pressure to get a deal done, the presidentdemocral republicans? alan colmes, host of the alan colmes radio show. brad blakeman is a former deputy assistant to president george w. bush. thank you both for joining us. the debt over $16 trillion. does the democratic plan, the latest one, put a dent in that? >> not at all. as a matter of fact it is more spending and less revenue. you know the problem rests with the president because the buck stops with him or should stop with him. he is the leader of our country and they control two third of government. we control the house but they still control the senate and white house. and let's remind everybody. the president appointed a commission on debt over three years ago and they came up with their findings two years ago and the president rejected simpson-bowles when he could have, at the time, not only averted this crisis but put
america back on path of sustainability and growth. patti ann: alan what do you say to that. >> a lot of republican rejected simpson-bowles too. i don't know how john boehner keeps his job. 17 republicans norman ornstein put out in his piece he could lose speakership. i don't know how he keeps his job when he says nothing more i can do. up to the president and democratic leader in the senate. he abdicated his responsibility because knows he can't get a deal t his own attempt to solve the deal in plan. about was rejected by his own caucus. this is a guy who has big political problems and basically admitted by saying it's in the president's court he can't get it done. patti ann: brad, stephen hayes referred earlier on our show to the conservative theory democrats actually want to go off the cliff because it would give them the tax hikes they want and quickly propose legislation cutting the taxes on middle class which both side would approve easily. and tax hikes on higher incomes would be in place and it is much harder to
roll back taxes once they exist. so is this a strategy do you believe? >> absolutely. i think the president believes he has much better leverage in january by us going over the cliff as you say correctly, there is nothing the president needs to do. there is nothing he has to sign. as a matter of law the law changes in january and taxes go up. president doesn't have to do anything. he can sit back and as taxes go up on everybody including that 1% that he has been after, nothing has been done on spending. sequestration could be rolled back with retro activity where the president thinks he is better shape on spending in january. patti ann: alan? >> you forget the president offered boehner a deal to keep taxes keep the bush tax rate on 98% of the americans. keep those tax rates where they are. not raise taxes and boehner rejected that. he had opportunity -- excuse me, i'm still talking. he has opportunity now to do exactly what the republicans say they want and boehner
rejects it. >> it is beyond revenue. it is about spending. that is our problem. >> you can stop going over cliff first of the year. >> what about spending that got us in bind we're in? none of the revenue that will be generated will make a dent in our spending especially the 6 trillion the president has --. patti ann: brad, democrats are arguing, you know obama won re-election and that means voters prefer his economic strategy and it is really the republicans obligation to bend here. what do you say to that? >> that is nonsense. the president has no mapped date. if anything, we have more division today than we did back on election day. the electorate may have wanted divided governing but they're not going to expect the kind of gridlock we've had the last four years. look they control the senate and white house. when the president controlled all branches government he rejected his own deficit commission which we're fighting over the same things we could have solved back when the democrats controlled it all.
patti ann: alan, quick last word. >> john boehner goes and says, what do i get for $800 billion in tax cuts? the president was exactly right to say you get nothing because that is what boehner could have had that he rejected the last time. i mean the guy is a bad negotiator. i don't know how he keeps his job. patti ann: alan colmes, brad blakeman, thanks so much for joining us. gregg: alan is still talking. starbucks, offering some extra encouragement to get a deal done. the coffee chain is now using its famous brew as an incentive to bridge the gap. starbucks ceo encouraging employees at roughly 120 d.c. locations to write the words, come together, on customer cups on thursday and friday. he says is sending a message that americans are paying attention and that americans deserve better. patti ann: not sure that is actually going to do the trick but it would be great if it did. come together on a coffee
cup and they decide to come together. we're looking at the big board. see how wall street is doing right now. you can see the dow is up slightly 28 points to 13,167. gregg: all right. patti ann: u.s. markets were closed yesterday for christmas and as a result volume is extremely light. investors are also waiting for a solution to this budget showdown in washington. on monday the dow closed down 52 points, finishing 13,139 and we'll keep an eye on those markets throughout the show. gregg: breaking developments out of afghanistan this morning where a homicide bomber blew himself up in front of a u.s. military base. well it all happened at the camp, the gate at the camp chapman, just miles from the pakistani border. police say the bomber's vehicle exploded while he was being questioned by a security guard. the blast killing the attacker and three civilians. leland vittert live in jerusalem with more on this. leland, how significant is this attack?
>> reporter: the significance isn't in any one, attack, dpreg, just how many we've seen especially when comes to insider attacks. being members of the afghan security services turning weapons on members of nato forces. so far we've seen 60 this year. that is more than three times, just about three times what we saw last year in 2011. keep in mind there are 66,000 plus american troops inside of afghanistan plus all the civilian contractors and that is what joseph griffin was. he was a civilian contractor who was an advisor to the afghan police force. he was shot and killed by an afghan police woman, the first time a woman has been involved in one of these insider attacks. she was an iranian by birth. got to afghanistan by forged documents. this really shows the holes in the vetting process of the afghan security services. remember those are the people who are going to take over trying to fight the taliban, trying to fight al qaeda come 2014 when all those u.s. troops leave
afghanistan. there is now some really serious questions how these afghan security services are going to fight a group of people when they are so badly infiltrated by sympathizers to those organizations, gregg? gregg: leland, over the weekend we've seen more signs that the regime in syria is beginning to crack. what is the latest? >> well, the big change that we're seeing now is inklings from the russians they're trying to figure out a way to at least put their toe in the water, figuring a way to move president assad out. it doesn't appear at least that the russians have any altruistic values in it operation than they're likely to save their own influence inside syria than let jihadists or something take over that they can't talk to considering how serious russia and syria have been as allies the last couple years. look what is going on the ground. a general in charge of the military defense group, the military police there inside
of afghanistan, inside of syria, pardon me, he just redecked over to turkey and is joining the rebels. this is the most serious high-ranking defects we've seen in a while. that shows another part of the momentum turning toward the rebels, away from the government who are becoming increasingly isolated inside of their cities, unable to project power. the army we heard is running out of supplies, though russia is still resupplying them as of now. but the rebels are becoming increasingly successful with their attacks. the big wildcard if russia tries to figure out a way to negotiate a settlement, what does iran do? iran is the other big supporter of syria as we reported for a long time. they sent numbers of airliners, civilian cargo planes into damascus and other airports with weapons on board, men, members of the revolutionary guard to help syria, the question is russia begins to abandon syria, is iranians enough to
keep assad in pow other are the iranians like the russians look to shift sides as well. still too early to tell, gregg. gregg: that's is the big question. leland vittert. thanks. patti ann: so is tax chaos on the way if lawmakers fail to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff? we'll tell you what it could mean for your paycheck. gregg: imagine cutting your commute almost in half. really? where is that happening and how fast trains can now travel on the world's longest high-speed rail line? [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. what starts with adding a friend...
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have a super sparkly day! ok. [ male announcer ] now all youeed is a magic carriage. citi price rewind. start saving at gregg: lawmakers now have less than a week to come up with a way to avoid the so called fiscal cliff. if they don't, you know, what happens and how much will it complicate things for taxpayers? joining us now is brian wesbury, chief economist at first trust advisors. you know, it strikes me people are sort of between a rock and a hard place, politicians are. >> right. >> what's the rock? >> yeah. the rock obviously is this cliff. if we, if we go off the cliff unimpeded, in other words, they don't make any kind of deals whatsoever, it's a $400 billion tax hike. it is one of the biggest tax
hikes we have ever had in the history of the country. gregg: right. and the hard place? >> yeah. the hard place is the negotiations. you think about it. reid and pelosi and boehner and obama all trying to come to an agreement? that seems almost impossible, doesn't it, when you know all of them? gregg: how do you close the tax gap? >> yeah. right now you can not do it. so the tax gap, at least in my opinion, would be the deficit. it's over a trillion dollars. if we raise everyone today, that pays the top tax rate, 35%, if we taxed them at 100% on all the money that they currently pay 35% on, and remember, i'm assuming that nobody changes their behavior. they still work just as hard even though they pay 100% tax, we would only raise $360 billion in this coming year. and that would still leave an $800 billion deficit.
we can not tax away the deficit. gregg: sure we can. we can do the value-added tax. >> well, and that's what worries me. if we don't cut spending, spending right now, the federal government is the largest it has ever been as a share of our economy. it takes up more of our economy than ever, the only way to pay for it is to put in a european-style value-added tax. which means every american, everyone, the lower income, the middle income, the high income, would pay, say 20% on every item they purchase, every item, to the federal government. that is what the europeans do to afford these big governments. gregg: what would it do? >> say that again? gregg: what would it do? >> that, that what would happen is, we were turn into europe. we all see it. we see greece, and spain and italy, and france. they all grow slow of the they have extremely high
unemployment rates. we would have a slow economy and high unemployment forever if we taxed ourselves like that. gregg: all right. >> this idea that somehow you can't tax the middle class or we won't, it's impossible. if we keep --. gregg: that is a bad idea, right, i get it. i get it. vat. that i get. >> value-added tax is the worst thing. gregg: brian, what is the solution? >> yeah. i, well, if i were king for a day and told to make the economy grow faster, i would cut the size of our federal government. we need to cut spending everywhere because, the best our economy has done in the last 30 years is during the '80s and '90s. that's when ronald reagan and bill clinton cut spending. i would take the clinton tax rates, right now, i would take them. gregg: really. >> they won't hurt the economy, if, i got clinton's spending. he spent one-third less on
federal government than barack obama is today, one-third less. we've increased the size of the government by over 33%. gregg:er hereby announce you king for a day. you're it. >> oh, please. but that's it. we're spending too much and the only way to afford this kind of spending is to tax everyone. and that's what i'm worried about. we're moving toward a value-added tax. gregg: brian wesbury, good to see you. thanks so much. >> good to see you, gregg. patti ann: greg says he can have the power. can i be queen? gregg: you may. >> this is great story. a man loses a ring on the highway and another person finds it. he is looking for the rightful owner. i hope you're watching! we'll tell you how you can help coming up. a touching story of a fifth grader and how he decided to honor the victims in newtown, connecticut. >> when i heard about sandy hook i felt really bad for
all the kids who had died. >> i wasn't surprised he had wanted to do something. i was surprised he wanted to follow through with it and it made me really proud. ♪ if loving you is wrong ♪ i don't wanna be right [ record scratch ] what?! it's not bad for you. it just tastes that way. [ female announcer ] honey nut cheerios cereal -- heart-healthy, whole grain oats. you can't go wrong loving it.
patti ann: a remarkable story of one man's efforts still going on to return a wedding ripping to its rightful owner.
douglas bendenetti, a snow chain installer in california. he was working on interstate 80 seeing a man frantically running up and down the road. he said he was looking for a his wedding ring which he lost while putting chains on the car. he gave up but he stranger kept looking for his ring. >> he wasn't wearing clothing for wither. looking for light on cell phone. it got cold and slipped off and went back looking for it and had no luck. he was disappointed. definitely disappointed. generally gave me idea of 1/8 of a quarter mile of stretch of roadway toe look for. it was perfectly round, sunk in the snow and i scooped it up. once i saw elise is a's name on it i know i had a wedding band and i had right ring. this is special for them and they don't need it lost on
the highway. i would like to get it back to him and he can in turn pay it forward later in life. patti ann: he doesn't know their names but is hoping the owner will see the story and contact him, doug benedetti, about claiming this ring. gregg: i hope so. the world sadly is a different place now than it was a week ago. the people of newtown, connecticut, that includes christmas, one act of kindness though from a little boy in texas, could not think of a better way to spend the holiday than honoring those who, whose lives were lost at sandy hook. >> one by one, all by himself cooper carlisle put down cards for the children of newtown, connecticut, at this churchside memorial. it is how the fifth grader wanted to spend his christmas. >> when i heard about sandy hook i felt really bad for all the kids who had died. >> reporter: cooper, coming all the way from houston,
texas, did not want to show up empty-handed so he persuaded his principal to let the entire school make all of these cards, filled with prayers and poems. >> i want surprised he wanted to do something. i was just surprised he followed through with it and it made me really proud. >> all the children in the school wrote cards, original drawings and cooper said that he would deliver them up here. >> reporter: a promise cooper kept this christmas day. the 10-year-old shared part of one particularly poignant poem written for children of newtown. >> they are filled with joy, didn't know what to say, they remembered nothing what happened earlier that day. where are we asked the little girl as quiet as a mouse? this is heaven declare ad small boy. we're spending christmas at god's house. >> reporter: cooper himself giving credence to the sign hanging at st. rose of lima church. >> i think the whole world is seeing now that the darkness is not going to overtake us.
today the light came into the world. >> reporter: this christmas that light shined in other small ways too. police from all around connecticut relieved the newtown cops who worked around the clock since the tragedy. heroes of all kinds coming to show their respect to all those whose lives were lost. >> i really wish they would come back because, come back, because then everything would be just back to normal. gregg: thanks to joel waldman, from our affiliate, wnyw for that story. patti ann: we're following a dangerous winter storm system moving across the united states and responsible for hundreds of canceled flights and several deaths. it is turning what would be relaxing holiday break into a nightmare. >> i come to get a propane exchange but my lights went out before i could get checked out. >> my boss expects me to be at work but i doubt that i will. i'm not driving my car in this
patti ann: back to business for the president. president obama cutting short his christmas vacation, heading back to washington tonight to deal with the looming fiscal cliff. it is a brand new hour of "america's newsroom," hello, everyone, i'm patti ann brown. gregg: and i'm gregg jarrett. lawmakers are -- republican lawmakers are returning to washington, d.c., and they are trying to negotiate something,
anything with the house. both sides saying that a few days to cool off over the holiday might be helpful, but there are no signs they're closer to a deal. patti ann: chief white house correspondent ed henry joining us now live in honolulu, hawaii. so, ed, what is the latest? any progress to tell us about? >> reporter: or well, patti ann, really no progress. as gregg was saying, a lot of people thought, well, a cooling-off period, the holidays, maybe this'll get everybody to work together, the president even joking last week about figuring out a way to move all of this forward, but we've been told by white house officials there have been no real phone calls between the president and speaker boehner over the last few days, very little staff contact. so the bottom line is the president is leaving hawaii here tonight, as you suggested, just to try and jump-start things. he's going to be landing because of the big time difference, a long flight from hawaii, he really won't hit the ground
until early thursday morning, and then we're expecting he'll either bring congressional leaders over to the white house or at least try to jump-start some talks because they are still very far apart in terms of working out spending cuts, as well as what the tax rates will be moving forward after january 1st. and as you know, we are finally up against this deadline, and economists have warned if they don't work this out, we may be right on the gunning of another recession -- beginning of another recession, patti ann. patti ann: was the president able to get in any down time during this brief break? >> reporter: i think he was trying to get as much family time as he could, because officials say it's basically 50/50 whether or not he's going to be able to come back to join his wife and daughters again. so what he did yesterday was opening up the president's -- they sang christmas carols together as a family, and he and the first lady went and visited the troops ott a local marine base. the president made some brief remarks thanking them for their service. take a listen.
>> so we know that it's not easy, but what we also want you to know is that you have the entire country behind you, and all of us understand that we would be nowhere without the extraordinary service that you guys provide. >> reporter: the president thanking the troops there, obviously. he's now got to get back to work, as you have noted. republican and democratic lawmakers expect to get back to work over the next couple of days as well. they are still very far apart, but maybe they'll finally put together a plan. gregg: david gregory could be in a bit of hot water after displaying an ammunition clip -- did you see this -- on national tv. it occurred during an interview on "meet the press." gregory was asking the nra chief if banning high capacity clips would make a difference in gun control and murders. washington, d.c. police are now
investigating, they say it is illegal in washington to be in possession of a clip more than ten rounds. there it is. new controversy over a gun-training program for teachers in two u.s. states, utah and kansas, offering free permit courses as well as mass violence response training. they're the only two states that allow individuals with concealed weapon permits to carry their guns to school. the move comes as several groups push to arm teachers in the wake of the school shooting. critics argue this could lead to more violence. patti ann: holiday travelers bracing for a messy day at the airports and on the roads as a severe winter storm now heads toward the east coast. up to a foot of snow expected in some areas, and yvonne mann joining us from wxin in indianapolis. yvonne? >> reporter: it is downright brutal out here right now. these wind gusts are just
beating at us all morning, and the snow is just getting worse. you can see just the traffic right now very, very slow here. i've talked to drivers that say they are driving about only 20 miles per hour. you can also see over there underneath that overpass there there's two cars that are parked underneath there. obviously, they cannot make it out through these conditions. visibility at a low. and indiana state leaders are telling people to definitely if you don't need to be out on these roads, stay inside. and if you are on the roads and you can't make it through this, be like those two drivers and park and just wait it out. right now here to show you how much snow we're getting, this is probably about 5 inches. we're expecting up to a foot of snow in central indiana once we get to the thick of things. patti ann: yi van mann with
wxin, thank you. gregg: this storm system is hitting the midwest, it's really ripping through the deep south yesterday and today. it's spawning several tornadoes leaving at least three people dead. joining us on the phone is jason girth in alabama. jason, what's the situation there? >> we're still sitting here, we don't have power. we're in midtown mobile on dolphin street, there's a bunch of trees and debris being cleaned up, there's some houses that are just devastated. it's my understanding that the church up the road is devastated, and, you know, we're just kind of waiting to see how everything plays out. gregg: yeah. did you see tornadoes? >> i did not. we were at my house, and we heard it coming. it sounded just like a freight train, and we grabbed the women and children and threw them in the bathroom and got the doors closed up, but my neighbor across the street was on his balcony when it was coming through, and he actually saw the
storm directly a at 'em, grabbed his family and threw them in the bathtub as well. gregg: right. how's everybody doing there, jason? >> we're doing okay where i'm at, but just a block away there's homes devastated. you know, it's hard to say. hopefully, nobody got too injured. i don't know exactly the situation on everybody's, you know, physical condition. gregg: right. >> i know there's definitely some devastation. it looks like a war zone up the street. gregg: well, what did you see? >> we looked down, i saw a house where a todd basically -- where a tornado basically cut it in half. there was about an 8-10 foot wall of debris blocking dolphin street which is a major thoroughfare in mobile. churches caved in, across the street from me there's a tree several feet wide that was split in half hour horizontally about0 feet up in the air, cypress tree
which just wouldn't happen very easily. we have a hole in our garage roof, and, you know, it's pretty torn up. gregg: jason, are you just amazed that people survived? >> after seeing some of what i've seen, yes. i mean, the one comforting thing that i was telling my wife last night is we keep seeing power trucks, we keep seeing police cars. i have not seen an ambulance yet, and i was taking that as a good sign, hopefully. gregg: really? >> yes. but there's other streets in the area that i don't know how it worked out. we still don't have power, so, you know, i'm kind of, you know, at a disadvantage in terms of trying to know exactly everything that's going on around the city. gregg: but, jason, you're feeling pretty lucky, aren't you? >> definitely. we felt blessed, you know? i mean, you know, the wife and kids and whole family was here at the house. nobody got injured.
our house didn't really get damaged, and we were blessed and fortunate. folks a few hundred yards away were not so fortunate, and, you know, hopefully it works out okay for everybody. gregg: jason gerth, you are blessed. and thank you for sharing your story. incredible. >> are yes, you're welcome. megyn: thank you. grubbing to you. god bless. >> good-bye. patti ann: well, just five days now until the end of the year and the fiscal cliff, and optimism is fading on capitol hill that a deal can be reached in time. we'll take a look at what's at stake coming up. gregg: and president george h.w. with bush spending christmas in the hospital. been there for more than a month. what doctors are saying about the former president's health. patti ann: and a christmas miracle for a heart broken family whose dog went missing a week ago. >> i was awakened by, like, an
alert-type bark, and i ran downstairs, and she was right there right at the door that she goes in and out of all the time just waiting for me to open it. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
gregg: china is unveiling the world's longest high-speed rail train this week. 1500 miles long, it runs from beijing to the south, and the train on this high-speed rail line initially ran 186 miles per hour. can you believe that? cutting between the two cities. china's railway system has a checker ored past, it has been riddled with accidents including the latest crash involving a bullet train which killed 40 people. remember that? july. patti ann: well, anxiety is rising over big tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick in on january 1st. a growing number of lawmakers saying they are skeptical that a deal can be reached in five days
to avoid the fiscal cliff, especially with the main sticking point coming down to whether to increase taxes for top earners next year among many other things. byron york, now, of "the washington examiner" joins us to talk about this. good morning, byron. >> good morning, patti ann. patti ann: so we're going to show a full scream of what would happen if -- full screen of what would happen if we go off that fiscal cliff. but you got democrats, including congressman john yarmouth of kentucky, saying, look, we may go off that cliff on january 1st, but we would creak it very quickly -- correct it very quickly thereafter, so do you believe that's the democratic plan? enter yes, and it's a republican nightmare. republicans have been reached no deal's reached, barack obama and democrats immediately propose to relower the tax rates to bush levels for all but the top 2%, and republicans find themselves opposing it on behalf of their millionaire friends will be the
democratic charge. so that's kind of a nightmare scenario for democrats, and it's why you saw john boehner, speaker of the house, offer to raise taxes on americans who mange more than $1 million a year. patti ann: yeah. so the idea, though, behind this fiscal cliff is that it was supposed to have items in it that were unacceptable to both sides so that both sides would be motivated to not go over that cliff with the understanding that they might not be able to fix it all with legislation after the fact. so are there items in there that democrats would really not want to see enacted with the fear that maybe they couldn't get them rolled back? >> well, you're right, but it wasn't quite equal. the two big disasters of the fiscal cliff are, one, tax cuts, tax rates going up for everybody, and, two, all of these automatic spending cuts in place. but democrats feel confident that if tax rates do go up for everybody, they can, again, propose to relower them for everyone and put republicans in
a tight spot. and as far as those automatic spending cuts are concerned, everybody knew at the time that they weighed heavily on defense cuts, and democrats favored those defense cuts more than republicans. so in a sense, higher taxes -- democrats have wanted to raise taxes, although not on the middle class -- higher taxes and lower defense spending, a lot of democrats basically favored that. patti ann: yeah. so they can just roll back the parts they want with both sides' support, and then they've got stuff in there that they wanted all along. so if it comes to the blame game, you would say the democrats are winning? >> well, certainly they believe they're winning, and the polls show they're winning. there have been a number of polls saying who would be more to blame if taxes go up. um, the number of polls have showed that the public would blame republicans more for that. john boehner's painfully aware of that, and a number of republicans believe that they are eventually going to cave on the you should shoe of tax rates -- on the issue of tax
rates for the highest income americans. boehner actually has on americans who make more than $1 million a year. the president's offer was reportedly $400,000 a year, they'll probably find some sort of agreement in there somewhere. but there's no doubt that all the polls show that the public would blame republicans more -- patti ann: right. >> -- if this whole fiscal cliff disaster happens. patti ann: now how was it spun this way? there's a lot more being negotiated than just those tax rates for wealthy people. what about the fact that we have the $16 trillion debt, and these plans hardly do anything to address it? why is that not the focus? >> yeah, they do almost nothing to address it. even if the president got what he wanted in taxes which is raising taxes on americans who make above $250,000 a year, i think it would be about $850 billion over the next ten years, it wouldn't even be one year's deficit. so there, i mean, there are a lot of other things involved. republicans have demanded real spending cuts, mostly spending
cuts in the entitlement programs. and what we've seen in the past few weeks is as that has been discussed among democrats, there's been a hardening of opinion that they really do not want to make any cuts or any trims really in any of the big entitlement programs, medicare, medicaid and social security. patti ann: all right. well, byron york, that's the real fiscal cliff ahead of us is that ballooning debt, i guess. all right, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, patti ann. gregg: all right. how about retailers? they are hoping to turn the tables today after disappointing holiday sales so far this season. we have the details coming up next. patti ann: and the gun debate taking a nasty turn. one newspaper prints the names and addresses of licensed handgun owners for all to see. is it legal and is it fair? i love the holidays. and with my bankamericard cash rewards credit card, i love 'em even more. i earn 1% cash back everywhere, evertime. 2% on groceries. 3% on gas. automatically.
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patti ann: retailers are hoping for a burst of postchristmas spending today after lackluster holiday sales so far. a new survey showing sales of electronics, jewelry and home goods up by less than 1% in the two months before christmas compared to last year. that is the worst year-over-year performance since 2008. but retailers still have time to make up some of that lost ground. the final week of december normally accounts for about 15% of overall sales.
gregg? gregg: we're going to get out there and make up for that. i really feel motivated. [laughter] all right. former president george h.w. bush, he spent christmas in the hospital. and the 88-year-old former president, he's actually been hospitalized before. the end of november with a bronchitis--like cough. doctors say they are cautiously optimistic. joining us now, chairman of the department of medicine at newark beth israel medical center. what do you make of it? >> well, he's 88 years old. this is a president who's been in exceptionally good health. i mean, he jumps out of airplanes at the age of 85 which i thought was an absolutely amazing guy. i can recall his illnesseses over his life which included a thyroid problem, you remember when he was president. one worries about an 88-year-old who comes in with trach yo bronchitis with a chronic cough, perhaps a low-grade fever.
gregg: what does that mean, pneumonia? >> yeah, well, it could mean knew known ya. bronchitis is an inin mission of the tubes that go into the lung, and you have trouble clearing mucus. you have trouble coughing, and coughing causes a lot of problems, so pneumonia is a possibility. and then when you're that old, you run the risk of a blood infection, and that can be lethal for somebody over the age of 75. gregg: what happens? >> it'll cause organ failure, and it is often times fatal. so i think the doctors are playing it safe. put him on antibiotics -- gregg: right. >> -- keep him at bedrest, give him some oxygen, make sure his diet is appropriate. i'm sure the antibiotics he's getting are through intravenous lines, and these antibiotics will, hopefully, cure him. gregg: yeah. and we wish him well because what a wonderful guy. >> yeah. this is a great guy. really amazing person. gregg: so how would you treat him in i mean, you would treat
him cautious hi? >> yes. the key what we do, this is a very straightforward situation. we would -- as i'm sure they have, cultured him well. so you would get the fellow that he coughs up, send that off for culture, do blood cultures, see if you can you anything out that is very specific. he probably has what we call a community-acquired infection. it's fairly straightforward to treat. again, in you or myself we would have no problem fending off an infection like this, but a guy who's 88 despite the fact he's been in exceptional health, this could be a problem. gregg: he would hate that we're talking about him. >> i know, he would. gregg: he is, actually, a very sort of bashful person. he doesn't like attention. >> that's right. i agree. i've met him on a couple of occasions. i think he's a great guy, and i think he's very robust. and barbara, his wife, the first lady -- gregg: right. >> -- fantastic lady. she's also had health problems,
but they've both managed to fend things off fairly well, and can they're a role model for all of us as far as health goes. gregg: yeah, it's amazing how well they have lived their lives -- >> yes. in a very graceful fashion fending off, as all of us do, various infections, various, you know, parts give way. hip replacement for the president, knee replacements for mrs. bush, etc. they've done very well over the years, and for a guy who's 88, i would keep him in the hospital for a couple weeks also. gregg: yeah, be cautious. >> absolutely. gregg: he's a national treasure. >> he is, he is, indeed. bob, thank you so much for being with us. good to see you. >> good to see you, gregg. patti ann: well, all eyes are on the weather as we track that deadly storm heading north right now. we have a live report just three minutes away. gregg: and as violence escalates in syria, a top general reportedly switching sides. the turning point in the civil war?
gregg: fox news alert, new watches in effect now for parts of the north and south carolina. all of this part of the deadly storm system that ripped through the south yesterday. let's go to maria molina in the fox extreme weather center. maria? >> reporter: that's right, our storm system still growing, yesterday produced over 30 reports of tornadoes across portions of the south, and today we're still seeing that risk in
the form of damaging wind gusts and tornadoes. tornado watch in effect right now across eastern portions of the state of north carolina and also eastern portions of the state of south carolina. basically, what that mean bs is that conditions out here are ripe for these thunderstorms to produce some possible tornado touchdowns. we've had some tornado warnings already issued across portions of southern north carolina in the wilmington area, so if you do get any of these warnings issued, if you have a basement, go ahead and go in there. however, out here many people don't actually have basements, so just stay away from windows and go to an interior section of your home on the lowest level. again, a tornado watch currently in effect across portions of the carolinas with possible tornadoes and tornado warnings being issued throughout the afternoon today. that does go in effect until 5 p. it also includes areas like raleigh, north carolina, we can seed severe weather further off towards the south in charleston, south carolina. and, of course, that's the warm
section of the storm system. this is a massive storm, and on the cold side, we're talking about significant snowfall accumulations, easily 6-12 in. s. when you factor in the wind, that's the bigger issue across parts of ohio, indiana and illinois. blizzard conditions with whiteout conditions out here, very dangerous road conditions. you guys probably should not be hitting the roads for today. we also have a number of winter storm warnings in effect across new england all the way down into parts of the state of west virginia where we could actually see before you see the significant snowfall, we could see some freezing rain out here, and it could be accumulating. so you're talking about a potential ice storm across the state of west virginia. please be very safe, everyone out there. we've been seeing that snow accumulating across parts of indiana and also into ohio. still 6 inches possible in parts of these states, and once the storm heads into the northeast tonight into tomorrow morning, we're going o see the worst of the storm with significant
snowfall accumlations. over a foot of snow possible in some spots, and as you head into higher elevations, more snow. gregg: yeah, indeed it is. maria, thanks. >> reporter: thanks, gregg. patti ann: brand new video in from nigeria after an explosion ripped true a warehouses full of fireworks. you can see the plumes of thick smoke in the air. the blast in a heavily-populated neighborhood. no word yet on the cause of the explosion or if there are injuries. fireworks are common this time of year even though government officials have tried to ban them fearing that terrorists could use them. gregg: and to egypt now. president mohamed morsi is reportedly putting a second decree forth. he's putting his newly-approved constitution into effect. voters approving the islamist-backed constitutions by what an election official calls a nearly two to one margin. protesters have broken out over the constitution since it was
passed by the islamist-controlled legislature. opposition members say it does not protect the rights of egyptians for the rest of the year which ousted former form e president hosni mubarak. patti ann: well, a top syrian general has reportedly switched sides to join the opposition. the military police leader made the announcement in a video. dozens of officers have defected since the crisis evolved last march, but this is one of the most senior. could it be a turning point? joining us now, navy captain chuck nash. thanks for being with us. how significant is this defection? >> well, i think it just shows that the tower's crumbling around assad, and it's certainly not good for him, and it's going to make those who are supporting him question his staying power. and it looks, at least from this and some of the efforts that the rebels are making, that his days truly are numbered.
patti ann: so what would that mean for the future of syria? >> well, it depends on, first off, how does this end? that's the big question. and who makes it end? he's going to have to make the calculation as did moammar gadhafi of if he makes a deal with someone, is it something that could be honored in the future, or is he going to make a deal, give up his position -- and his position right now are two things. he's got chemical weapons and other secrets that he knows because he's been dealing with the iranians, and the third thing is to stop the killing. so if he makes a deal, it's to, it's to deal with those three things, and he's got to find someone who could make him a deal, and there are only a couple countries in the world that could make that deal, keep that deal and that he would consider. patti ann: so what is the impact here on the middle east and world politics? >> well, you know, when this ends, i don't think it's going to be pretty. it's going to be like libya which is like somalia only
better armed. and with syria it's right in the heart of everything. it's a very volatile region. and when the factions that are fighting assad get finished fighting assad, i think they're going to probably wind up turning on each other. what we're looking at here is right now a revolution turned civil war. so this is going to go on for some time, and that's why some of the bigger curves that -- countries that i referred to earlier that he might make a deal with, russia, iran or north korea, for him to get out and get away there's really only one cup that the world would, i think, allow to make b that deal, and that's the russians. patti ann: what role should the u.s. have in all of this? >> i think the u.s. should provide intelligence to whomever is going to try to make that deal, because what we need to do is we need to locate, fix and then eventually destroy his wmd capability and his chemical
weapons. because we cannot let that stuff get out into the terrorist networks of the world in any quantities at all. patti ann: well, right. and as you mentioned, this is a civil war. >> yeah. patti ann: if assad exits, it's far from over. there are various possible outcomes here. do you see the rebels, though, being able to forge some kind of a government that can work with itself? >> it's possible, but within the rebel factions there are over 4,000 foreign fighters. their loyalty is to jihad. they're there as jihadists just as they were to al-qaeda in iraq. when they were killing americans. so they're not, their interest is not in the future of syria. their interest is in the future of an islamist state. so that's why if anybody gets in there, the deal has to be -- and assad needs to make this deal
with someone who he thinks can honor it -- we need to lock down those weapons first and have a presence of we'll call it an adult country rather than the civil war participantsdividing the spoils of that very lucrative arms cache. patti ann: yeah. what is the likelihood that a non-islamist state, a more democratic type of government will emerge from all of this? >> well, that's very difficult to say because as i referred to, one side being islamist/jihadist faction, the other side is very, very tightly aligned with the muslim brotherhood and always has been. and assad's father -- this is not, this is not the first rodeo. assad's father killed thousands of the fathers of the people who are fighting him right now when they tried to rise up against him. this is a very longstanding issue, and it's not, it's not going to go away pretty. patti ann: captain chuck nash, thank you as always for joining
us. >> you bet, patti ann. gregg: one california couple getting their holiday wish after their beloved dog who ran away earlier this month managed to find his way home back to a friend's house just in time for christmas. the couple frantically searching for over a week and finally on christmas eve morning, well, the friend called with the good news. >> she's here, she's here! she was screaming it and crying. >> she was waiting just right here. >> i was awakened by, like, an alert-type bark, and i ran downstairs, and she was right there, right at the door that she goes in and out of all the time just waiting for me to open it. >> we had an inch and a half of rain, and then we had temperatures down to 33 degrees. we had a wind storm that blew sand all over that area down in the torrey pines area. i believe we had an earthquake. what more could have happened? >> you kind of see this side.
it was in perfect condition. it was only about two weeks old, and then when she came back, it looked like that. >> from running through the brush and the bushes. >> we don't really know, i don't suppose we'll ever know for sure. i saw a dog toy, and i said to myself, that dog is going to be home for christmas. gregg: the come believes the dog found her way home by picking up the scent of karen vaughn's husband who went on a long run through the area on sunday. i don't really think i want to brag about that. patti ann: but that is a fantastic instinct, though -- gregg: it is. patti ann: -- to pick that up and follow that trail home. gregg: how great is that? patti ann: all right. well, we still have up to come a newspaper publishing the names and addresses of people with gun permits, and that has residents up in arms. is it legal? our panel debates, fair and balanced.
patti ann: well, for anyone hoping to attend president obama's second inauguration on january 21st, d.c. hotels say they've got plenty of room. that's a change from 2009 when hotels sold out months in advance at rates of $600 a night. nearly two million people witnessed the president's first swearing in, but city officials say they expect only about one million this time.
they point out that second inaugurations tend to attract a lot fewer speck spectators. gregg: i think that's true. patti ann: yes. but also his first inauguration, that was ground breaking, people wanted to witness history. gregg: all right. want to talk about this. hear about this? a newspaper near rochester, new york, facing a major backlash after publishing an editorial about the newtown massacre. it was followed by an interactive map that showed the names and the addresses of thousands of residents who have handgun permits. the information was obtained legally, by the way, using freedom of information requests. but what about the gun owner's right to privacy? it was in westchester. i live there. fyi. our panel joins us now. criminal defense attorney brian claypool and trial attorney
deborah blum. deborah, is this right or wrong? >> it's, as you said earlier, perfectly legal, but i feel that it's wrong. it's not fair to make scapegoats of people who lawfully possess pistol permits, and that's exactly what the newspaper did here. gregg: are they punishing, deborah, people for owning a gun? >> i do think they are punishing people for owning the gun. in this country pursuant to the second amendment people have the rights to bear arms, and they've published the list of the names of these people who do have that right, and their neighbors might now feel fear. they, those who do not have guns are listed, and they might be more susceptible to break-ins. gregg: brian, what do you think of this? >> well, gregg, i don't think this is an invasion of neighbor's privacy rights. we need to all have a second set of eyes right now to look out for our neighbors, to protect our children in this country. we're 20 times more likely to
die in our country by use of a gun than any other industrialized nation. i as a single daddy of a 7-year-old girl, i want to know whether my neighbors have guns or not as well. i might not want my daughter to go over to that house and play. gregg: really? brian, i live in westchester, but i'm not sure i want my neighbors to know whether i have a gun or not. >> gregg, let me ask you think, do you really think a robber is going to come into your home because he or she knows you have a gun? they're not looking for a confrontation. so i don't think this exposes anybody to any undo safety. gregg: right. well, what about that? deborah? >> well, again, the people here were not asked to have their names published in the newspaper, and i agree most of of my clients who commit robberies do so without making much of a plan. they go in, and they commit a crime, and most likely aren't going to read the newspaper to see who is or isn't armed.
however, here the people were not asked if their names should be published, and it was a major shock to them. and they're being punished -- gregg: right. >> -- for something that's completely -- gregg: brian, what about that? there is sort of a punishing effect here, isn't there? >> i don't see how anybody's being punished. i think, again, everybody has -- gregg: they're not punishing me because i own a gun, and i'm going to blow you away if you show up at my door? >> i might not let my little girl come and pray at your house if you have a gun at your house. the purpose of this request is to protect confidential information. this information about gun ownership isn't confidential. we're not talking about somebody's social security number, we're not talking about patient or attorney client communications. so i really don't think it does punish anybody, and furthermore, people can still own shotguns or rifles. those aren't registered, so just -- gregg: just for the record, i do
not own a gun. people, you know, come to my house if you want to. [laughter] i don't own a gun. deborah, you get the final word. >> plenty of people in this country legally have weapons, and people here that legally have them or have the right to possess them had their information disclosed without being asked. that's just not fair, and it's punishing them as scapegoats. gregg: all right. good debate. deborah blum, thank you so much for being with us. and brian claypool, good to see you both. >> thank you, gregg. patti ann: how technology transformed a tiny california metropolis. and counting down to the new year, fox news hoping to celebrate with you. we'll have all the details next. [ laughter ] smoke? nah, i'm good.
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>> hi, everyone, i'm meteorologist maria molina. we want to update you on the storm system set to impact the northeast. we're talking about some very cold temperatures, dangerously cold, in the ingle digits across -- single ding
psychiatries across minneapolis. rapid city right now, 2 below zero. and on the warm side of the storm system, we do have another concern which is severe weather. we've had a number of tornadoes being reported throughout the day yesterday, on day, some damage to homes, very unfortunate on such a great holiday. and now we again have a tornado watch in effect across eastern portions of the state of north carolina and also in south carolina with possible tornadic activity expected throughout the day out there. and on the cold side of the form storm system, southern portions of illinois, into indiana and ohio. we have some very heavy snow falling out here, very easily over 6 inches, some spots could see over a foot of snow, and men you factor in the wind, wind gusts easily over 40-50 miles an hour, that's what produces these blizzard-like conditions. here's a look at the tornado watch in effect across eastern parts of north carolina and south carolina. this does go until 5 p.m.
eastern time. no current tornado warnings, but when those do get issued, if they do, make sure to seek shelter immediately. aside from tornadoes, we do also have a concern for damaging wind gusts from some of these thunderstorms throughout the today today. very quickly, here's a look at your blizzard warnings across portions of the midwest. widespread winter storm warning stretching across portions of pennsylvania, upstate new york and into new england as we head into tomorrow. back to you guys. gregg: hey, christmas time is not just for santa. poncho claus making his rounds in houston yesterday handing out gifts to kids in some of the poorest neighborhoods. >> there's so many kids that i know do not get anything for christmas. so we're just trying to do our best to give them a little something so they can have a bright christmas too. gregg: poncho claus. good for him. the local has been doing this for more than 30 years.
good for you. patti ann: well, one california town experiencing a mini boom going high-tech in a major way. nipton, california, was a virtual ghost town just 25 years ago until one man shelled out about $200,000 to acquire the place and eventually turned it into a sustainable clean-tech wonderland. anita vogel has this story for us. >> hey, this is about gerald freeman who did stumble across this virtual ghost town in the middle of nowhere. he decided to put a lot of money into it and turn it into a high-tech oasis in the desert along the california/nevada border. gerald freeman was prospecting for gold back in 1984 when he happened upon the tiny town of nipton, california. >> very much distressed. the hotel had been condemned by
the county as a structure, and none of the buildings worked. >> reporter: the cal tech-trained geologist bought the town for $200,000 and has spent more than 25 years and $1 million to restore it, installing solar panels to power the whole town, erecting eco-cabins based on designs by frank lloyd wright and setting up wi-fi for all residents. and now this mojave town is experiencing a mini boom, getting visitor from all over. >> people from the u.k., from tokyo, from australia, france, i was amazed when i came to work here how many people from other countries come to visit our little town. >> reporter: and their little town's population has now blossomed to 60 residents as clean tech job seekers stream into the area to see the solar installations and more rare earth mining which is being expanded in the nearby hills. >> it's terrific for me because it's sort of like i'm realizing
my dream. and doing something i really like doing that is turning into a business success. >> reporter: and the nickname of this little town is nipton powered by the sun, and another unique fact is it's only one of two towns in the entire country that's owned by a private individual. the other one is in the state of wyoming. patti ann, back to you. patti ann: yeah. and that individual, freeman, he's done a lot. is he done, or does he have more plans for nipton? >> reporter: oh, no. he has big plans for his small town. he wants to put in electric vehicle charging stations, an organic farm, of course, more solar panels and possibly even some wind turbines. so he's got a long way to go. patti ann: wow. interesting story. anita vogel, thank you so much. gregg: that's a great story. love that. all right, we are tracking this massive storm that has triggered dozens of tornadoes, the latest
watches and warnings now in place coming up next. ♪
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movie industry as a whole. despite a slow summer, the industry is on track to wrack up more than $10 billion in ticket sales by year end, that's after a three-year slide. gregg: you know, i really want to see that. don't you? hathaway's mother actually played fantine on broadway. isn't that great? and now she's playing that. all right, a heartwarming rescue christmas day, take a look at. patti ann: oh. gregg: this is my story of the day. two adorable bear cubs saved by foresters on an island in eastern russia, their mother apparently killed by hunters. the little guys are three months old. they have been named mashk a&m iska, and we're told they're being cared before r because they're too young to make it on their own. patti ann: well, we've got new year's eve just days away now,
and we do have a programming reminder for you. megyn kelly and bill hemmer will be hosting fox news channel's all american new year's eve. coverage starts at 11 p.m. eastern time monday night, and you can get your happy new year's message on the show. just text utext, space, and then your greeting. type u with a u, text, a space and then a brief message to 36288, then just tune in. gregg: maybe the bear cubs will be there. you never know with megyn and bill. patti ann: it's true. they do a great job. it's always fun. gregg: that's it for us. patti ann: it was a pleasure being here with you today. gregg: "happening now" begins right now. >> right now brand new stories and breaking news. >> president obama's cutting his hawaii vacation short, it turns out, to take on the fiscal cliff and crisis in washington. also we're keeping an eye on
new violence in syria. one of the regime's highest-ranking generals has actually switched sides. plus, a newspaper actually lists the names and addresses of folks who hold gun permits. is that right or wrong? it's all "happening now." kelly: welcome, everyone. first, tracking a powerful winter storm moving across the one right now -- country right now, this hour, threatening travel plans for thousands of americans just trying to get home after the holidays. i'm kelly wright in for jon scott. jamie: i'm jamie colby, and patience is definitely going to pay this holiday day. the massive storm already blamed for at least three deaths down south, and it spawned more than 30 tornadoes, very unusual for this time of year, across four gulf states. take a look at. >> oh, my